No one can really deny electric fireplaces come equipped with a range of features that make them superior to other types of heating and the amount of energy and money saved when compared to the likes of gas or wood burning appliances is enough to make anyone want to make the swap. The majority of households in the USA were gas or wood powered in the 70s. In fact, studies have demonstrated that more than 40% of homes traded in gas for electric in the past ten years alone. So, what is the reason behind so many people making this decision?
Appliances that utilise wood, gas and electric all have the capability of producing large amounts of heat for your home, yet the yearly cost of each varies tremendously. For instance, appliances that utilise gas such as gas fireplace inserts on average cost around 20 cents an hour to generate around 25,000 BTUs. Yet, what you have to remember is that much of this very expensive heat energy is lost to the external environment such as the chimney, meaning you never real feel much of it. Astonishingly, the average cost of gas in the USA is around $70 (depending on your area of course). While stoves such as wood burning pellet stoves cost around $200 annually to produce 25,000 BTUs. Yet again, much of the heat produced is lost up the chimney before you ever feel it. The best electric fireplace units on the other hand, produce less heat; yet can help save you much more money since they can be used for zonal heating. In comparison, electric heating costs around $30 on average per year. Furthermore, gas and wood burning units don’t come with the option of having them operate with the flame effect only, so even though gas and wood appliances typically operate for around 4 months of the year, an electric fireplace can operate year round at a portion of the cost.
Save on Installation Fees
Installing a fireplace can actually add to the value of your home, by an incredible 15% according to the National Center for Real Estate Research. However, if you have a property without a fireplace already installed, the cost of adding one can be substantial. For example, the construction of a flue, chimney, mantel and fireplace can be expected to cost around $10,000 on average. Additionally, further costs can soon be added for things such as room expansions and other tidy up work including re-plastering. Furthermore, the owners of gas and wood burning appliances need to pay an annual fee for a registered professional to come and carry out safety checks on them. Electric fireplaces don’t have any of these issues since there is very little installation involved, the only thing required is an electrical power outlet located close by and no ventilation system such as a chimney is required as they don’t produce emissions. Furthermore, electrical fireplaces are available in a wide variety of different styles, shapes and sizes to match almost any type of decor.
As well as the savings made from not requiring to pay for the initial installation and annual service fees, gas and wood appliances also depend on natural resources to produce heat for your home. Firewood in the USA in 2013 averaged at around $290 for a cord of wood. However, these costs vary dramatically from state to state and typically become more affordable in rural locations. Hardwoods such as oak are much better as firewood as they burn for longer, unlike softwoods such as pine that can burn extremely fast. However, even though hardwoods burn better their cost is typically higher. Regardless, softwoods are still not cheap and their use will add up throughout the year.
Gas appliances also depend on the average price in your state too. The average price of gas in 2013 was around $370 per gallon, so using a gas fireplace can quickly result in a high bill. Further gas fireplaces need a pilot light that is a gas flame made to ignite and maintain the flame during use. If the pilot light breaks, owners can expect to pay at least $40 to get it fixed or replaced.
The best electric fireplaces require neither wood nor gas to produce heat. Instead, they utilise a normal outlet in your home. To prevent energy wastage, owners also have the option of unplugging the unit to make further savings.
The take away message here is that by opting for electrical fireplaces, homeowners can save thousands that they would need to spend on installation, fuel and annual safety inspections.